Dynamic Reteaming by Heidi Helfand


I finished reading Dynamic Reteaming: The Art and Wisdom of Changing Teams by Heidi Helfand yesterday. This was a good book, and a little bit different compared to many other management or leadership books in the sense that it focuses on team building. I think managers and leaders with a growth focus should read this book. Heidi draws on her vast experience from coaching at ExpertCity, Procore, AppFolio and Citrix Online, where Heidi was on the original development team that invented GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar. 

Here are 5 team change patterns discussed in this book.

  1. One by One – The simplest way to create a new team is to add or remove just one person. 
    • define career ladders and hierarchy.
    • ease the transition for the plus-ones
    • invite new ideas from new team members
    • consider the experiences of the people already on the team
  2. Grow and Split – This pattern recognizes that teams that were once efficient can outgrow themselves, and breaking those teams into faster, sleeker, more specialized units can prove beneficial.
    • put the decision to split in the hands of the people
    • lead these split teams into their new mission
    • recognize that big teams are valid too
  3. Merging – Merging is the natural inverse of the Grow and Split pattern, where two or more teams combine into a single unit. 
    • combine teams when the org needs greater flexibility and less specialization
    • mentor developers through the natural difficulties of merging
    • help team members find their new beginnings
  4. Isolation – This pattern recommends extracting a small team from the larger organization and gave that team the freedom to work differently with a specific goal in mind.
    • create isolated teams for both big projects and short-lived problems
    • spread around the knowledge and maintenance to prevent messes
  5. Switching – It takes place any time developers move to other teams within the same company, extending their lifespans at the company and helping them grow, learn and find fulfillment in their careers.
    • learn what developers’ career goals and interests are—and locate opportunities to further them
    • facilitate deliberate switching to spread knowledge and build resiliency

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